Peel Thunder suffers nail-biting loss to West Perth by five points

Photos by Canaan Thevarakam
Photos by Canaan Thevarakam

PEEL Thunder have suffered a nail-biting loss to West Perth by only five-points at Joondalup Oval on Saturday.

After a dominant first half, where the Thunder led by 21-points, the Falcons fought back hard in a shocking comeback finishing 12.6.(78) and 11.7.(73).

Peel’s Corey Morris said the Thunder’s fiery start was a big turnaround from their previous games where the team were slower out of the gates.

“That was one of our focus points coming into the game… to start fast given that our last game against Claremont and the week before against East Perth we started very slow,” he said.

The Thunder’s synergy between defence and the midfield in the first half led to seven clean goals to the Falcons’ three.

Morris said Blair Bell was pivotal to Peel’s success in the first half, scoring two goals within the first quarter.

“He’s been unreal … he’s been enormous for us this year and we love having him up forward,” he said.

“We know he’s going to give 100 percent effort every time.”

However, the strong start did not prepare the Thunder for the intensity West Perth brought into the third term.

Incomplete tackles and slow reactions spanning Peel’s midfield and defensive line allowed the Falcons to score seven goals almost uncontested, gaining on the Thunder by 37-points.

“During the third quarter and a little in the last quarter we just let them walk through a few of our tackles, we didn’t stick them, we weren’t strong enough, so I guess that let us down I guess in that third quarter mainly,” Morris said.

Peel increased their pressure and closed the margin to one-point in the final term, 24 minutes into the last quarter, but a goal scored by the Falcons in the final minutes of the game sealed their fate.

Despite the loss, Benjamin Hancock stood out as a Peel player to watch, finishing with 18 disposals.

Harley Bennell made a welcome return from injury.

“He’s had to step up since Ben Howlett’s gone out and he’s acting skipper,” Morris said.

“[Hancock] is one of my best mates at the footy club and I’m stoked to see him doing really well and playing really good footy.”

Morris said the Thunder’s focus would remain on faster starts and maintaining intensity.

“Last time we played Subiaco they [dominated] us in the first quarter, so [our fast starts will] be a key focus, and then just sustaining that throughout all four quarters rather than letting it slip in the third quarter like we did today,” he said.

Peel Thunder face Subiaco at David Grays Arena on Sunday, June 2 at 2.15pm.